Blue and Golds: ‘best display for 30 years’

Eastbourne rugby
Eastbourne rugby

Eastbourne Rugby Club continued their scintillating form last Saturday, beating second place Burgess Hill by a resounding 43-6 score line.

Eastbourne’s season is bordering on perfect so far with the East Sussex club sitting at the top of the Sussex Spitfire table with an eight-point gap over Burgess Hill.

They have won all eight of their league games alongside their progress in the Junior Vase Cup.

The top of the table clash on Saturday was a highly anticipated match but the Blue and Golds sent out a resounding message to the rest of the league, one that they are a force to be reckoned with in this season’s Sussex One campaign.

In the clubhouse following the match, Club President John Feakins went as far as to say that it had been as good a performance as he had ever seen in his 30 years at the club.

Eastbourne head coach Russ Aikenhead said, “It was a great performance. We went 6-0 down but we were still confident we would wear them down. It was some of the best back line play I’ve seen in some time.”

Adding to the Blue and Golds impressive form is their formidable defence, a defence that hasn’t conceded a try at home so far this season. Overall the team have leaked only 38 points in the league and have scored an emphatic 325 points in eight matches.

Eastbourne’s fine form has created a great buzz around the Park Avenue club , with the team hot favourites to win the league.

“With the position we’re in we will be very disappointed if we don’t go on to win the league,” said Aikenhead.

The Blue and Golds head coach has attributed the club’s run of results down to the players mental strength, “It’s really good the players are really focussed, they really do want to win the league.”

Eastbourne have been given an added dimension with the strength in depth they have had coming off the bench this season. Saturday’s match showed this with the bench making a telling contribution to their demolition of the so-called Sussex All Blacks.

“The players who haven’t been starting week in week out have come in and played really well. Selection has been really difficult,” he added.

It’s common place in sport for a club to look to the future when results on the field are proving a constant source of success. And Eastbourne’s next step is no doubt promotion into London Three South East.

At the start of the season chairman Fraser Brooks put his hopes on promotion into London Three, the last time the club played in the eighth tier of English rugby was in 2012 when Eastbourne were relegated after a disappointing campaign that saw the club finish the season with only two points.

But Aikenhead is confident his men can hack it at a higher level, “I think they are good enough, but we are still looking for the next wave of players. We need some younger players, that’s sport you’re always looking to the future.”

But before the Blue & Golds can dream of promotion they need to win the league, and next up for Aikenhead’s men is a the trickey journey to play Worthing Seniors.

Worthing, who were promoted after winning the Sussex Intermediate League last season, have struggled to find their feet so far, winning only three games of a possible eight. But they are seen as a dangerous prospect nonetheless.

“They are a strong side who like to throw the ball about,” added Aikenhead.

Worthing will be confident after winning 48-27 over second from bottom Rye last Saturday.

Eastbourne will be without talismanic captain Matt Pysden, who has been in scintillating form this season, missing out due to a groin strain.

After a momentous weekend and result against Burgess Hill Eastbourne will want to extend their winning streak to nine games.